Your home’s gutter system works incredibly hard each and every day. From making sure heavy spring and summer rains don’t cause your home’s roof to collapse or sag to ensuring that melting winter snow has somewhere to land away from your house, gutters are truly the workhorses of residential structures. In order to keep your gutter system in good working order, though, you need to properly maintain it. Upkeep should include cleaning your gutters at least once per year, although many experts recommend doing this chore in both spring and fall. Some helpful tips for how to accomplish this task are detailed below.
- Remove any debris – Gutter trenches often become clogged and filled with debris, particularly after the fall and winter seasons. The first step to properly cleaning your gutters is to get rid of any leaves, twigs, and other items that have built-up and may be clogging the trenches. You can do this with a specialized gutter scoop tool or with a small garden trowel you already have on-hand. The most efficient way to remove debris is to scoop it into a pail, rather than into your yard.
- Use a hose to clean the trenches – In addition to larger pieces of debris, gutter trenches can become lined with dirt and mud. You need to get rid of this muck while you’re cleaning your gutters. The best option is to use a garden hose to spray all of your home’s gutter trenches, effectively blasting any remaining particles away. If any mud or dirt remains when you’re done spraying the gutters, you may have to use a scrub brush to remove it.
- Check downspouts for blockages – Blocked downspouts are a problem that often plague homeowners as spring arrives thanks to the leaves and branches that fall during the autumn and winter seasons. The best way to clear your downspouts is to use a hose to spray down your gutter trenches directly into them. If that doesn’t work, you may have to rent a plumbing snake, also called an auger, to remove whatever is clogging the spouts’ exits.
- Visually inspect your gutter system – While you’re cleaning your gutters, it is an excellent idea to perform a visual inspection of them as you go. If you notice any holes, cracks, sagging sections, or other issues, make note so you can contact a professional contractor later. Any noticeable problems are likely to lead to long-term damage, so it’s best to get things repaired sooner rather than later.
If you choose to follow these steps to clean your gutters yourself, make a point of gathering all of the necessary materials before you get started. This will make the process go more smoothly and will ensure you don’t have to constantly climb up and down a ladder to collect supplies. If, on the other hand, you decide that cleaning your gutters on your own is not something you’re interested in, there are plenty of contractors who will do it for a fee. Some professionals even offer discounts to clients who book multiple cleanings per year.